The “déconfinement” continues. Restaurants and cafes will open June 2nd. The retailer streets are choked with shoppers. Parks are filling up with walkers and picnickers.
My mind is on something else. The other day, inside the apartment, I spotted the first mosquito of the season. A few hours later, a small welt on the inside of my right ankle started to itch madly. The next day, my fingernails were digging at a much larger welt between my neck and left shoulder. Up and down, up and down, scratch, scratch.
Mosquitoes love me. If I am in a crowd, everyone else is safe from bites as I’ll attract them all. I detest the critters, and, for that matter, all bugs.
But the “moustiques” pose more than just a nuisance here on the French Riviera. We are one of the many regions in France on red alert for tiger mosquitoes. They are responsible for the small but growing number of cases in France of dengue fever and chikungunya, two deadly tropical diseases.
The heating planet is to blame, so this situation is unlikely to improve. In fact, by 2030, all of France is expected to be plagued by the large, striped insect. By then, the tiger mosquito won’t be the only warmer earth problem, but for now I am on vigilant guard against them.
There are other insects to ward off during this season, of course. Flies, ants, hornets, strange little things with wings that I can’t name. In some buildings, cockroaches. Let’s not talk about vermin.
Outside of the hot months of May through October, our tall French windows open to a lovely view over a garden. In early spring, they are open all day for the breeze and bird song. Starting now, the watered rose bushes, palm trees and linden plants become dangerous breeding grounds.
From now until the first drop in temperatures, long after the stunning heat waves of summer, those windows will remain shut. Soon, the air conditioning will be on — indispensable during a Nice summer. Sadly, we will probably not be going to mosquito-free Brittany this year due to coronavirus reasons (who wants to take a plane anywhere?) but we might take a road trip to the French Alps and escape all that for a short while.
That all depends. So far, we have been told we are free to travel within France for July and August. But anything could happen, couldn’t it?